All we are saying (for now)

The wind carried the foul breath of war
no longer, washed clean of conflict
and heavy, putrid clouds ringed in black
for now.

For now peace peppers the air,
disinfecting blood-stained ground
like a writer desperate to scrub
away an ink blot or erase
an embarrassing metaphor.

For now the breeze of paradise
carries us to heaven, invented
by atheists who merely lack
imagination to try something
more permanent.

Old habits

They fell into old habits,
not as pleasant
as falling into
each other’s arms,
older but still mysterious,
if only in dreams.

We fall where we must,
some select a home,
others are merely
bright red
and yellow leaves in autumn,
if merely a memory.

Gravity weighs on us all,
tugging us into orbits
cycling through
resolved to find joy in
familiar —
this perfect space.

The year in light

The twilight of another year sparkles
with flashes — burning brilliance —
so I cannot leave them behind
as we place one foot into the future.

I pause now, lingering
on the twinkling moments,
savoring the sweet stamped imprints
while my month waters
in anticipation of more to come.

Even the sad, the hurt,
the bulbs I’d replace if I could —
I’ll take them with me. Sometimes
any light is a reminder
that life glimmers between bursts
of radiant light
whether we’re looking or not.

In the shade (an awakening)

The festive shade arranges our regret
in dark circles beneath well-lit disco balls
that perceive more than they admit.

We can try to escape — reason born
of wisdom implores the effort of
savvy sailors drifting too close

to menacing falls — and if we find absolution
when awakened, free of misplaced remorse,
paint our knees penitent, prudent

while shouting in the winds of the future,
shaking but confident in the effort of
reclaiming the shade for ourselves.

One perspective

The caged butterfly beats wings
against captivity, hostage to forces
beyond the walls imprisoning it.
Arresting (and attractive) orange
(dotted with black) elegance —
I am enchanted by such
spunky thrashing against its netted bondage,
beauty bound for something more.

What makes me move on past
the incongruous scene (set behind
an inhibiting screen) is the thought
(or is it hope?) that the lattice serves as shield,
protecting the gentle innocence within,
armor against the elements — a matter
of perspective authentically mine,
beset with doubts until I’m out of view.

Spiders are fine. They’re fine.

I wouldn’t call it arachnophobia.
I’m not paralyzed at the sight of a spider
proudly squatting on a sticky throne
creepily waiting,
enormous bug eyes surveilling
the nightmares of smaller bugs soon to wander
through a web of foreboding.

But the thought of eight legs skittering
across my skin — pincers pelting me with jitters,
tremors rippling over me
in concentric circles of panic,
now unsure of my link
on the food chain.

Oh hell. Now I can’t sleep.

It’s an unforgiving ride

An industrious toddle escaped
the ravenous escalator as its chomping teeth
receded nearly underfoot, a hunger
refusing to crumble.

Should this child —
claiming all 10 toes by the grace of
toddler intuition — grant clemency to
the peckish conveyance for lowering itself
to our most base levels? 

What of the parents? You would
be forgiven for refusing them absolution
for their negligence, clutching
a phone and counting likes
on both hands.

I lean to lenience. We have survived
parenthood to this point asking only
for mercy in our lowest moments,
repenting of sins of omission but never
forgetting the ride can sometimes
be treacherous.

Marriage well worn

What to say of a marriage
well worn? She’ll dive into a coffee
pot this morning, swimming
into another day as hours do laps
around the clock.

Her eyes – from what I can see –
refuse to accept the daylight,
fighting a battle she’s lost before but,
ever hopeful, lashes out once more
against the sun.

I place a hand on a coffee mug and
pledge allegiance in whatever wars await
after her hair is dried and our son
once again demands we mix
water and milk.

For a few minutes, we are a couple
embracing small moments crackling
with sparks the same they have
all these years even as the clock dances
through another day.

Be the truth

The truth, if such things exist, screams
for attention, authentically searching
for a voice in the silence while deception
drowns reality in shiny distractions

and falsehoods. Look instead to the truthbringers,
the journalists standing for fact while
swatting away lies buzzing too close
to our faces, pests before our purity. Turn inwards

and face the world honestly, finding strength
in the genuine while fighting the urge to adorn
reality with glossy decoration. Be the truth
that exists in the world, a flyswatter

beating back the outbreak of mendacity
slowly spreading disease through the world.
Spray disinfectant and rejoice as truth
declares victory on behalf of the righteous.

Honey bee

Once bitten, my son now fears all wasps,
bees – insects really – flying near our porch
or on his swing set. Twice, shy,
he has refused to go outside with me
today, hiding behind the safety of our walls
playing with toy cars, plastic trucks, and other
synthetic things. I want to keep him safe –

of course I do – but a world awaits him,
one with bee stings and honey,
blood red mosquito bites and
phosphorescent lightning bugs, itchy irritating
pollen clouds and sticky sweet maple syrup
and I must give a name to each of these today
so he can name his own world tomorrow.

We must take our lumps with sugar:
bees produce honey, pollen grows flowers,
and while I’m not sure mosquitoes
do anything pleasant, I spent many orange summer
dusks chasing lightning bugs and collecting lumps
And long to watch the joy in his eyes
as he braves the wilds of our back yard.

What about stars

What is it about stars that so captivates us?
The sparkle we mirror in our eyes?
The glimmer we hope will carry us
through whatever blackness surfaces?

Warmth dulled through lightyears still
envelops me in a hug at midnight
drawing me in to their group,
part of a constellation. Of something.

The universe is but black, vast and empty,
a vacuum devoid of meaning,
swallowing what it may, but bespeckled
randomly with dust of light
scattered haphazardly out there. Up there.

I follow the light, something to reach for,
hands stretched to the stars
that so captivate me like millions before –
will we ever get closer to them?

Glory in a bee

The bumblebee bounces in glory
upon my arm,
the unflinching stinger bold
in its daring attack,
bound in sacrifice
for its hive.

For what would I show such courage,
bounding into battle
without thought,
solider of hive mind
for my tribe?

How might I fly to face danger
upon myself,
the urge to strike
against threats
for my end?

What glory comes to the bee,
valiant warrior
gallant to the end,
no match
for the force
of my right hand?